Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Haunted Halloween Getaway

Mansfield, Ohio is the place for truly unusual Halloween experiences. From a haunted prison, to a live play that tells the creepy story of a real local character accused of murder and a number of historic sites where ghostly tales are told, visitors can find information on all these attractions online at or by calling (800) 642-8282.

Believed to be one of the most haunted places in the US, the Ohio State Reformatory Historic Site was once a working prison and has served as the site for several blockbuster movies, including “The Shawshank Redemption” and “Air Force One.” Now a well-known tourism attraction, the Reformatory will offer “Prison of the Evil Dead” Haunted Prison Experience. Billed as one of the scariest places in the Midwest, the month-long event features the longest haunted cellblock ever and loads of ghosts, demons and creepy characters brought to life via live actors, Hollywood special effects and high-tech scare devices. The Haunted Prison Experience runs September 26 through November 1; Thurs., 7-11 p.m.; Fri. and Sat., 7 p.m.-midnight; and Sun., 7-10 p.m., Admission is $15. The tour is not recommended for children under 10. The Haunted Prison is the perfect addition to Mansfield’s all-inclusive Road Trip getaway packages, which start at just $82 per person plus tax and include overnight
accommodations, meals and attractions.

“There are many documented cases of paranormal activity at the Reformatory,” said Mansfield Convention and Visitors Bureau President Lee Tasseff. “Groups of professional and amateur ‘ghost hunters’, and even a crew from the Sci-Fi Channel, have spent many nights at the prison recording what they report as unexplained encounters with ghosts and spirits.”

Eerie music sets the mood at Malabar Farm State Park, the former home of Pulitzer Prize-winning author and screenwriter Louis Bromfield and the site where Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall were married. Malabar Farm and Mansfield Playhouse present “The Ceely Rose Story,” a live play that tells the tale of Ceely Rose, accused of a ghostly triple murder that took place nearby in 1896. The show runs Oct. 10-12 and Oct. 17-19 in the farm’s restored 1896 timber frame barn. Tickets are $30 per person, and include a chicken and ribs barbecue picnic dinner and the live performance. Friday and Saturday dinner is at 5 p.m. and performances begin 6 pm. Sun. Matinees dinner begins at 2 pm, with performances beginning at 3 p.m.

No haunted Mansfield tour is complete without a stop by Mansfield and Oak Hill Cottage. Chandeliers are known to flicker on and off and a fastidious elderly woman straightening pillows or testing for dust has been spotted by visitors and staffers alike. Reports of the sound of footsteps on the upper level and sightings of a frightening man wearing black with long white hair, have led some to believe historic Brownella Cottage is also haunted. Sat., Oct. 25, the Haunted Illusions Magic Show creeps into the Renaissance Theater, also the location of multiple reported ghost sightings.

Travelers can take advantage of specially designed affordable getaway packages when planning to experience Mansfield’s Halloween activities. For more information or to book a getaway, consumers can visit and click on the Haunted Mansfield icon or call (800) 642-8282.

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